Role of fire in seed germination of woody taxa in California chaparral.
The effects of heat, powdered charred wood and light on seed germination were studied for 45 tree, shrub, subshrub and liane taxa from fire-prone coastal sage scrub and chaparral. Some woody species had seeds that germinated readily upon wetting, and germination was not stimulated further by fire-related factors. The persistance of these species in fire-prone habitats is due to resprouting after fire. Seedling establishment and population expansions required extended periods without fire. Other species had a requirement for heat (from fire or increased soil temp. on open sites) or charred wood for germination. These species have seedling establishment and potential population expansion restricted to postfire conditions. It is concluded that the present species composition may be maintained by variable burning regimes.